What do they do? Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO), position was created under legislation in 2015 and launched on 11 March 2016 with two key functions: to assist and to advocate for small businesses and family enterprises.

The Hon Bruce Billson, is the 2nd ASBFEO and says “I’m an independent advocate for small business owners. My office has the legislative powers needed to effectively influence our nation’s lawmakers, ensuring legislation and regulations are put in place to help small businesses grow”.

The ASBFEO’ is seen as an ‘allie’ of small businesses and family enterprises to enable them to grow and thrive. The ASBFEO office provides small businesses and family enterprises with assistance should they find themselves involved in a business dispute. They are also in the position to bring insights into government policy and program development to ensure they are designed and appropriate for small business needs.

Understand the challenges facing small business owners and provide access to dispute
resolution services for those who may be involved in a disagreement, so they can try and
find a solution to their problem without having to go to court.

There are a number of different activities the Ombudsman may conduct in fulfilling the role
of small business advocate. Broadly these include:
o Conduct inquiries and research
o Work with other arms of government
o Contribute to other inquiries
o Promote good business practice.

Key Takeaways:
Advocates on behalf of small business and family enterprise to government and other stakeholders

  • Can provide assistance to small businesses and family enterprises that are in dispute with other businesses or Commonwealth Government agencies
  • Provides guidance and information on business management and operational topics
  • Offers a small business hub to provide space for small businesses, family enterprises and industry associations representing small businesses in or visiting Canberra
  • Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committees are key players providing advice and supporting small business in regional Australia.
The Strategic Wheel of Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman